Do’s and Don’ts of Vacationing with Kids
A lot has changed since our last family vacation in April, most notably having another kid, but my wife’s and my resolve to vacation on a regular basis remains the same. So we decided to head to Cape May, NJ for 4 days/3 nights. I’m not a huge Jersey Shore fan, but it was nice to see that there were a lot of folks like myself who clearly don’t go to the gym (I have an ab – the 6 have combined into one awesome, rotund muscle) and could use a tan (the only color I have on my thighs are hairs).
While checking in, this was part of the conversation with the hotel staff:
Staff: Ok sir. We have beach towels here for your use. Beach tags and chairs can be rented near the beach.
Me: Great. Beach tag?
S: Yes sir. You can rent them at several locations.
M: Is that like some kind of flag?
S: No sir. You have to pay to access the beach.
What the what?! Yup. You have to pay to access most beaches in New Jersey – $5/day, $10 for 3 days for anyone over 12. Being from the DMV, I’m always surprised to go to other cities and find I have to pay to visit a museum, which I can understand, but the beach? Being the frugal guy I am, I decided to try before I buy, mostly because D1 hated sand when we went to the beach in April. When D1 saw the beach, she ran excitedly, but once she hit the sand, she froze and asked to be picked up. *whew* saved $20! I imagine by next year, she’ll be eating the stuff.
Recently, Gigi from Kludgy Mom did a guest post at Scary Mommy entitled, “Vacations With Kids: A Primer,” which I thought was great and got me thinking about some of our Do’s and Don’ts we learned while vacationing with a 2.5yo and a 4 week old.
DO go on vacation. Not having to do the laundry every time D2 spits up (only at college parties do people throw up more after drinking than D2)? Not having to tell D1, “STOP JUMPING ON THE BED!” and instead playing Lava with her (you know – everywhere but the pillows on the floor is lava)? Not worrying if your kids spill something or make a mess? Yes, please!
DON’T forget to tip housekeeping.
DO pack plenty of diapers and wipes – D1 usually soils 4/day and D2 does about 6. Multiply by the number of days and then throw in 2 more for good measure.
DON’T pack too many clothes. We typically over pack, which means more laundry when you get back home.
DO head out just before their nap times and tank up your newborn. That way, they (should) sleep through most of the drive.
DON’T worry – you won’t necessarily go insane when both girls are screaming for about an hour. Although you’ll come awfully close.
DO bring everything you think you may need with you when you head out (diapers, wipes, water, snacks). Yes, you will wonder if you’re a dad or if you’ve been recommissioned as a pack mule, but it’s far better than a situation where your child dropped the biggest dump ever, decided to take off her diaper, and run around with poop clumps on her butt, all while you panic and kick yourself for not bringing diapers or wipes. Hypothetically, of course.
DON’T think back to when it was just you and the wife. Just don’t. It will only depress you.
DO eat at places where other parents are eating or get takeout food and eat outdoors or on the boardwalk.
DON’T go to a fancy place expecting the fanciness to cause your kids to transform into little angels.
DO enjoy yourselves.
DON’T focus entirely on the kids or you’ll need a vacation from your vacation.
DO eat funnel cake, ice cream, pizza, boardwalk fries, and order both desserts when you can’t decide. After all, you’re on vacation.
DON’T get on a scale immediately after you get home.
What are some of your do’s and don’ts for vacationing with young children?